The online harassment of women is escalating at an alarming rate in Canada, according to an online survey of thousands of Canadian women by a Canadian advocacy group.
The survey by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Women’s Running Forum was conducted in June 2017 and includes responses from 1,400 women.
The survey found that while some women have received death threats and abuse online, harassment has become more common in Canada.
Women in Canada are now less likely to report online harassment, according the survey, published Thursday.
“We’re seeing more women say they’re not comfortable coming forward for fear of being bullied online,” said Catherine Murphy, executive director of the Canadian Center for Policy and Survey Research, a group that has studied online harassment and gender-based violence in Canada for years.
The group’s latest online survey shows that women in Canada have the lowest levels of trust and trustworthiness of any gender in the country.
“It’s about time,” Murphy said of the survey.
“We need to have an attitude of being proactive, rather than reactive.”
The survey found women are far more likely to say they’ve received death or rape threats online than any other gender.
Women are also much more likely than men to say harassment online has become an everyday occurrence.
In 2017, 1 in 3 Canadian women reported receiving threats from someone they didn’t know, according a survey by Thomson Reuters.
About half of Canadian men and women said they have experienced online harassment.
“The internet is an important platform for women to voice their concerns, and to be heard,” Murphy added.
Murphy said many of the women surveyed said they are trying to raise awareness about online harassment to stop it happening to them.
The research found that 70 per cent of women who reported receiving online harassment said they had received threats in the past year, up from about 40 per cent a decade ago.
Women are also increasingly seeking out legal help when they are harassed online.
About one in four Canadian women said a lawyer helped them or a friend do something about online abuse, according an online poll by Thomson News.
A separate survey by Statistics Canada found one in three women said their legal adviser or legal representative had helped them cope with online harassment at least once.
About 80 per cent said they did not report online abuse to authorities.
A woman is seen at a hotel in Shanghai, China, in this April 23, 2019 photo illustration.